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Minister of State Ciarán Cannon, TD., Reception Concern Worldwide (UK)

Many thanks Ambassador

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be here in our Embassy today to celebrate 50 years of excellent work by the Irish NGO Concern Worldwide.

For the past 50 years, Concern have been relevant and effective, a lovely balance between learning and evolving on the one hand, all within a consistent framework of priorities on the other. As a result they have built up experience and expertise that is influential beyond their own high quality programmes. Experience and expertise that they are sharing in the EU and the UN.

When the development world woke up to the malnutrition agenda during the food price crises, Concern were already there. As we work to come good on the World Humanitarian Summit Grand Bargain, we find Concern already going local. It is uniquely well placed to deliver on resilience and on what is called the ‘Humanitarian Development Nexus’, namely in addressing how long term needs, such as education, can be delivered in the context of crisis responses.

Concern’s international reputation is solid. And those of us who contribute, including the taxpayers of both Ireland and the UK, can feel proud to support work that brings real hope to thousands facing hardship.
• The increasing numbers trying to cope in conflicts and climate shocks, suffering hunger and at risk of starvation, in some of the most difficult and challenging places.
• Places of vulnerability to climate change, and political violence.
• Areas where people are on the move to an unprecedented degree, out of necessity, with all that means in terms of the breakdown of social and economic life.

Concern Worldwide is the largest development NGO in Ireland and a longstanding partner of Irish Aid. From Biafra onwards, they have expanded to over 50 countries worldwide, responding to emergencies as well as working in long term development programmes. Since last year Concern has started to benefit from our multiannual humanitarian funding, and we hope the links between this flexibility and the multiannual development funding will increase. The work Concern carries out, in areas such as South Sudan and the Sahel Region, linking humanitarian and development programmes, is encouraging, cutting edge and desperately needed.

And I think Concern has concrete learning to offer as we all look at how to move from ‘HDN’, or Humanitarian Development Nexus, to HDPN, with Peace – that critical glue for long term sustainability, especially in situations of unstable politics and conflict.

So if I can ask you all to please charge your glasses, I’d like to raise a toast to Concern Worldwide, in recognition of their empathy and pragmatism and expertise, in reaching those left behind.

And we should also acknowledge that we are all beneficiaries, when fragile places are more stable, and have more hope.

Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the evening. To Concern!...

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